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Horace Mann Measure E Renovations Start Next Month

The school board has approved about $56 million in Measure E money for the project.

Measure E-related construction is scheduled to start in late June at , almost four years after voters passed the $334 million bond to fund renovations at all five city schools.

The Board of Education has allocated about  to renovate the school, including $3 million to modernize the auditorium. Work on the auditorium is scheduled to begin soon after the academic year ends June 22, according to Principal Steven Kessler. The school will be without an auditorium until at least February 2013.

Additional renovations are slated to begin next spring or summer and will take at least two years to complete. Horace Mann staff and administrators have been meeting with the project architect overseeing the construction plans every two weeks for the past few months to add their input, Kessler said.

The school board majority agreed last week to a design that includes elements suggested by Horace Mann staff. It incorporates a campus tower that will be used by students as a weather station and site for a telescope, Kessler said. The school is the only K-8 campus in the city without a tower.

The approved design—which may be refined over the coming year—also includes adding more “Spanish-style” stained-glass windows to the building to give it a historic feel.

Board member Lewis Hall dissented on the design proposal presented at a May 2 study session, which he described as “piecemeal” rather than comprehensive.

“I believe that the city’s Architectural Commission should first view the designs as part of a design process,” Hall told Patch. “Although I have 30 years of a design experience, I didn’t feel qualified to judge the designs and give direction” to district staff. Hall teaches multimedia at Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

Horace Mann first opened Dec. 19, 1929, as a 30-room Spanish-style building for 307 students, according to the history section of the school’s website.

For a picture of the suggested new design, click here.

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Michael Adelman May 09, 2012 at 12:03 AM
I was glad to learn that the district, this time around, is going to make an attempt to tie the new additions in with the existing architecture of the school. Basically during the district's building boom in the late 1920s, they spent about half on Horace Mann as compared to other schools (El Rodeo, for example). Given this fact, I think the school is now due every consideration. The additions built in the 1960s always appeared to have been "dropped" on the campus, with no attempt to link them to the original buildings, which have some wonderful features. The aluminum windows installed around the same time, completely destroyed the look of the buildings. The present windows installed in the auditorium are the closest to the originals. They need to be brought back to the original buildings again if they are going to address the historic significance of the Spanish colonial architecture used at the time the school was built. Why all the interest? I am just a former student who attended HM from 1955-1964 and whose parent still lives around the corner and who simply wants his former school to look the best that it can look. The article mentions stained glass to preserve the historic heritage. Please know that Horace Mann actually had stained glass in the original windows of the annex building that was demolished. I may have been in kindergarten at the time, but some things one just fondly remembers!

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